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Six. The Amityville Horror true story reveals that on the night of November 13, 1974, twenty three year-old eldest son Ronald "Butch" DeFeo, Jr. (born September 26, 1951) shot his parents, two brothers and two sisters with a .35 caliber Marlin rifle while they slept. The entire DeFeo family is pictured below.
Yes. As Ronald DeFeo, Jr.'s defense attorney, William Weber, was trying to establish an insanity plea, DeFeo testified that he heard voices that told him to murder his family. Assistant District Attorney Gerard Sullivan made sure that the insanity plea didn't hold up, eventually convincing all twelve jurors to deliver a guilty verdict. In a 2002 Primetime Live interview that Ronald DeFeo, Jr. gave from prison, he recanted his testimony, explaining that his parents were abusive and he committed the murders while drunk and high on heroin.
Yes. In researching The Amityville Horror true story, we learned that they had married on July 4, 1975. Both had been married before and the three children were from Kathy's prior marriage. According to Daniel, George insisted that he and his siblings be officially adopted, changing their last names from Quaratino to Lutz. The couple also had two daughters together, Noel and Gabrielle, before they divorced in the late 1980s.
The real Amityville house was located on Long Island at 112 Ocean Avenue, Amityville, New York. However, the address has since been changed to 108 Ocean Avenue in an effort to deter tourists from visiting the location. In 2010, the 5 bedroom 3 1/2 bath house was listed for sale, featuring pictures of the interior. Below is the current Google Maps Street View of the legendary home.
On December 18, 1975, the day that the real Lutz family was moving into their new Ocean Avenue home in Amityville, a Catholic priest allegedly came by to bless the house, supposedly at the request of Kathy Lutz. On October 4, 1979, a little more than two months after the release of the movie, the investigative television program In Search of featured an episode that included an interview with who they claim is the real Amityville priest. He wanted to remain anonymous, so his face was kept hidden. Watch the Amityville Priest Interview
No. "They [the filmmakers] could have just as easily had done the flies the way they really happened," says George Lutz, who laughed at the movie's portrayal of flies attacking the priest (Rod Steiger). -The Real Amityville Horror
According to son Christopher Lutz, George and Kathy did not have trouble paying the mortgage. Due to the history of the home, it was listed well under market price at $80,000. During an interview with Spooky Southcoast, Chris says that George and Kathy were able to make a large down payment with the money they got from selling his mother's house as well as George's house. By moving into such a spacious place on the water, George was able to cut a number of costs, enabling them to afford the mortgage. He intended to move his family's land surveying business into the basement, and he was able to eliminate mooring costs for his two boats since the property had a private boathouse. In his documentary My Amityville Horror, brother Daniel agrees that money for the house was not an issue as portrayed in the movies.
With regard to The Amityville Horror true story, it is widely known that the Lutz family spent twenty-eight days in the home. George, Kathleen, Daniel, Christopher and Missy moved in on December 18, 1975 and fled on January 14, 1976.
Yes, at least according to the TV program In Search of and their 1979 interview with who they state is the real Amityville priest (Watch the Interview). Noise interference prevented any phone communication and he could never get through to warn the family.
No. According to Jay Anson's book The Amityville Horror, Kathy's Aunt Theresa was formerly a nun. She was no longer a nun when the events took place. She already had a family of her own by the time her niece moved into the home.
Yes. During an interview with Inside Edition in 2005, Chris explained that, "There was definitely a lot of flies but nothing again like Hollywood is portraying it." His brother Daniel also mentioned issues with flies in his documentary My Amityville Horror, although he claims there were many more.
Yes, at least according to most of the people involved in the story. This includes son Daniel Lutz and Father Ralph Pecoraro, the priest who allegedly blessed the home. The strange coldness is why the movie depicts George Lutz constantly chopping wood and burning the home's fireplace.
No. At least not according to what George Lutz said during the 1979 Good Morning America interview. He states that it was the porcelain toilet bowls themselves that turned black, not the water.
Our exploration into The Amityville Horror true story revealed that according to George Lutz, Missy did have an imaginary/paranormal friend named Jodie (spelled "Jody" in the film). The entity would present itself to his daughter in different forms, including as an angel and as a large pig. In the movie, George (James Brolin) sees Jodie in pig form in an upstairs window. Earlier, his wife Kathy (Margot Kidder) sees Jodie's glowing red eyes through a window in the darkness. A drawing that the real Missy Lutz allegedly did of Jodie is featured in Jay Anson's novel. The creature in the drawing looks more like a cat than a pig. However, the book describes it as a drawing of a pig walking through the snow.
Yes, according to Daniel Lutz, he did get his hand smashed by the window. In real life, Daniel says that the window smashed his hand "skin on skin", emphasizing the initial severity of his injury. In his documentary My Amityville Horror, he holds his hand up in front of the camera to demonstrate that his little finger is still bent from the injury. Moments later, he contradicts himself somewhat by saying that his hand had magically healed just minutes after the injury. In the movie, the parents take their son to the hospital and are eerily amazed that there are no broken bones in his hand.
Yes, but the red room was exaggerated in the movie and book. In reality, the red room wasn't all that secret. It was part of a storage space under the basement stairs. Patty Commarato, a former friend of the murdered DeFeo daughter Allison, revisits the real Amityville red room (pictured below) during a 1980 episode of That's Incredible (See Video of the Red Room). She says that the DeFeos used to store toys in the small red space.
No. Not only was there never any physical evidence of a window breaking, in a 2011 interview, son Christopher Lutz confirmed that no Amityville house windows broke. -Spooky Southcoast
During a 1980 Amityville episode of the TV show That's Incredible, Barbara Cromarty, who purchased the home with her husband Jim after the Lutzes moved out, allowed the cameras inside the home to demonstrate that the upstairs eye window had never shattered like in the movie, noting that the window frame still showed the old paint and putty from when the house was built in 1927.
In a 2011 interview with 30 Odd Minutes, Christopher Lutz clarified that even though one of the Amityville home's infamous eye windows never shattered, this element of the movie was in fact inspired by the windows having opened on their own. "That was my bedroom...Those two windows are one bedroom and that used to be Ronald DeFeo's bedroom, and when we moved in the house my brother and I shared that room. That window opened many times, but rather than display it like it happened, they showed it absolutely shattering. It didn't shatter the glass. The window opened. The thing swung open."
No. In The Amityville Horror movie, demonic forces cause the wooden front door to explode outward. "It did not get ripped off," said son Christopher Lutz during a 2011 interview (Spooky Southcoast). It should be noted that mother Kathy Lutz had previously stated that the door did blow outward, leaving police and repairmen dumbfounded. However, no physical evidence has ever surfaced to validate Kathy's claim.
No. In the 2005 documentary The Real Amityville Horror, the real George Lutz said that blood never dripped down the walls.
No. During the 2005 Christopher Lutz Inside Edition interview, he says that the exciting scene at the end of the film when James Brolin's character falls through the basement stairs into the sludge-filled hole never happened in real life.
No, at least not according to the movie's two main stars. "I watched with great amusement as the studio's publicity machine went into action concocting these terrible things that were happening on our set, which weren't really," says Margot Kidder, who portrays Kathy Lutz in The Amityville Horror movie.
Actor James Brolin recalls with amusement, "We're being asked, 'Is there weird stuff goin' on?' and we're goin', we're lookin' for stuff now, you know, cause we'd like to tell 'em, 'Awe, yeah, you wouldn't believe what happened yesterday.'"
Nearly every aspect of what is seen in The Amityville Horror movie has been the subject of controversy and debate. The family almost unanimously agrees that the movie is an exaggeration, but to what degree we may never know. The real George Lutz admitted that as of 2005, he had been involved in no less than fourteen Amityville-related lawsuits. In an interview with People magazine, George Lutz emphasized that the lawsuits were to protect his family's story, rather than being about money. Each member of the real Lutz family (except for Missy who refrains from interviews) has at some point contradicted one or more of the other family members. These particular members of the family have also on one or more occasions attempted to profit from their own take on the real Amityville house haunting. None of these facts mean that the entire story is a hoax, but they do allow room for doubt. Perhaps the only fact that is indisputable is that Ronald DeFeo, Jr. was convicted of murdering his family in the Amityville house prior to the Lutzes moving in.
In 1979, many people believed that the truth behind The Amityville Horror had been revealed when attorney William Weber came forward and said that he had gotten together with George and Kathy Lutz one night, and they had come up with the story over many bottles of wine. However, the impact of Weber's revelation was short-lived when it was discovered that he was emblazoned in his own legal battle with the Lutzes at the time and may have had motive to purposely discredit their story.
No. As of 2013, no subsequent owners have reported anything paranormal taking place in the house.
|George and Kathy Lutz Interview|
George Lutz and his wife Kathy are interviewed on Good Morning America in 1979. They discuss the hordes of flies that invaded their home, the movie's green slime, and various other paranormal events that occurred which they claim to be true. They are joined by actor James Brolin who portrays George Lutz in the original film. Brolin says that he does not believe the book in its entirety. However, in the presence of George and Kathy, he says that he does believe them. Years later, he contradicted this by saying that George was a good "salesman", calling the Lutz's story a "gizmo".
|Amityville Priest Interview|
The priest involved in the Amityville haunting is interviewed in 1979 for an episode of the In Search of TV show that investigated mysterious events. The alleged, real Amityville priest describes his experience when he went to bless the Lutz's Ocean Avenue house in December of 1975. Later revealed to be Father Ralph Pecoraro, his story eventually fell under scrutiny as he often contradicted himself, leading some to believe that he was part of a hoax.
|Real Amityville Red Room in Basement|
Patty Commarato, who had been friends with Allison DeFeo (murdered), revisits the Amityville House where she used to play as a child. In this video footage from a 1980 episode of That's Incredible, Patty takes viewers into the secret red room in the Amityville house's basement. Located under the stairs, Patty offers her thoughts as to whether the real secret room is anything like the one in the 1979 Amityville Horror movie.
|Christopher Lutz Interview|
Christopher Lutz, the son of George and Kathy, tells Inside Edition in 2005 that he was "absolutely disgusted" with regard to what he saw as he watched Hollywood's take on his family's story. He discusses the accuracy of various scenes in the original and the remake, as he revisits the real Amityville house that he lived in with his family for 28 days.
|The Amityville Horror Trailer (1979)|
James Brolin and Margot Kidder portray George and Kathy Lutz in the original film adaptation of Jay Anson's bestselling 1977 novel that is itself based on the alleged Amityville true story, as purported by the real George and Kathy Lutz. The family moves into a new home that had been the site of a gruesome mass murder. They begin to witness paranormal events in the home and turn to Father Delaney (Rod Steiger) for help.